The ideal experience motivates customers to buy again. Yet, many companies’ practices and policies discourage loyalty. Do you commit any of these common mistakes when it comes to customer experience?
These are the things that frustrate customers most when they try to buy a product, schedule a service or get help during their journey.
“When you give customers value and ease, they have little reason to go to your competitors,” says Kate Nasser, a management and customer service coach.
That’s why you want to avoid the customer experience issues that turn off customers:
Customers want to move forward. But they sometimes get caught in phone menus, fruitless email exchanges and red tape. Even worse, their issues or questions might get lost because there are so many steps in the process there’s plenty of space for falling through the cracks.
At the end of every interaction, employees should check that something was accomplished. Ideally, the situation was resolved. But they should determine that it at least moved forward. Ask questions such as, “Have we accomplished what you hoped to today?” or “Do you feel we’ve moved closer to the conclusion you’d like to see?”
It usually takes several people and departments to move customers through their journey with your organization — from web designers, sales pros and customer service reps, to finance experts, fulfillment and IT. You might know how the journey is supposed to flow, but customers often don’t. And without some continuity, they’ll feel like they’re in a maze — and will want out.
The best fix: Give customers a single point of solution, Nasser suggests. Some companies assign account specialists, who are the single point of contact and move customers’ orders, issues and concerns through internal channels. From there, shared technology, service expectations and values help the person who is the point of contact meet customer expectations.
When the journey is riddled with unpleasant surprises, customers start to doubt the people, process and company. Even slight changes in terms can cause customers to start to lose trust. If a promise isn’t fulfilled, they question their choice to do business with a company.
The key to keeping them stay loyal is to be as transparent as possible. You don’t have to give up trade secrets. But you do have to lay out all the potential drawbacks, terms they may not love or possibilities for changes. More importantly, you need to confirm that they understand what can happen.
4. Deaf ears
Most companies offer customers a bunch of ways for customers to contact them — 800-numbers, email, social media, etc. It’s a great way to build bonds with customers … if you stay on top of the channels. Unfortunately, lots of customers’ calls, messages and posts go all but ignored because no one is checking general email boxes, monitoring social media around the clock or listening to voice messages.
Bottom line: If you offer customers different channels through which to contact you, you must have the resources to respond in the expected time for each channel. That’s less than an hour for social media, a day for email and immediately for phone calls.
Customers give feedback whether you solicit it or not. And they won’t stick around if you don’t invite them to give feedback or, perhaps worse, don’t act on the feedback they gave.
They do like changes that are done to benefit them – especially if improvements are a result of the feedback they gave. So regularly request feedback, either through formal, short surveys or more informally during conversations. Get front-line employees to ask the same question, gather the answers and look for trends. Good questions to ask informally:
- “What could’ve gone better?”
- “How can we make your next experience better?”